Coherent Ultra-Wideband Radar-on-Chip for Medical Sensing and Imaging
Funding: Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) DTA
In recent years a substantial body of experimental work has been done to apply microwave and radar technologies in the field of medical imaging and biosensing. Properties of the microwave frequency band are promising: The non-ionizing radiation is harmless at moderate power levels but penetrates biological tissue reasonably well. Although generally a lower spatial resolution is achieved when compared to conventional medical imaging systems such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and X-ray, microwave systems have the advantage of a high temporal resolution and lack the need of ionizing radiation or radioactive contrast agents.
With an increased focus on long-term, mobile, and even home-based monitoring for preventive screening and early detection of diseases, radar-based biosensing and imaging applications become particularly interesting due to the potentially low cost and small size of the required hardware. Besides non-contact applications such as heart rate tracking, sleep monitoring and fall detection for the elderly, radar technology has been applied previously for screening of the cardiovascular system, breast cancer imaging and stroke detection.
Radar imaging is usually performed using coherent ultra-wideband (UWB) radar, which is traditionally achieved through bulky vector network analyzers (VNA). The recent innovation of a UWB radar-on-chip, at the size of a finger nail, provides the opportunity of in-body radar imaging with extremely small and low-cost electronics. The goal of this research is to investigate the challenges and opportunities of using coherent UWB radar-on-chip for medical sensing and imaging.
For this research project, hardware, developed by partnering University of Oslo and manufacturer of radar-on-chip devices Novelda (Oslo, Norway), is characterized and performance of sensing hardware is evaluated on custom made biological phantom objects. UWB signal propagation through biological tissues is studied though numerical modelling and experimentation, and results are used to develop novel signal processing and imaging strategies for in-body UWB radar sensing. Proof of concept of radar medical sensing and imaging is delivered by testing on human subjects and validation against gold standard sensing and imaging techniques.
The outcomes of the project will potentially lead to more affordable and accessible medical sensing and imaging solutions. These will particularly be valuable for home use, mobile measurements and pre-hospital assessments, to facilitate early diagnostics and long-term monitoring of a range of medical conditions.
- Lauteslager T, Tømmer M, Lande TS, Constandinou TG, 2018, Cross-Body UWB Radar Sensing of Arterial Pulse Propagation and Ventricular Dynamics, IEEE Biomedical Circuits and Systems (BioCAS) Conference, Publisher: IEEE
- Lauteslager T, Tømmer M, Kjelgard KG, Lande TS, Constandinou TG, 2016, Intracranial Heart Rate Detection Using UWB Radar, IEEE Biomedical Circuits and Systems (BioCAS) Conference, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 119-122
- Lauteslager T, Nicolaou N, Lande TS, 2015, Functional neuroimaging Using UWB Impulse Radar: a Feasibility Study, IEEE Biomedical Circuits & Systems (BioCAS) Conference, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 406-409